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Why Are Great Danes Heartbreak Dogs?

Updated: Jul 11

Exploring the Heartbreak Dog: A Comprehensive Guide to Great Dane Care, History, Temperament, Space Requirements, Health Issues, and Lifespan.

Great Danes are a breed of dog that has captured all hearts of dog lovers due to their unique combination of size and gentle personality. But as the saying goes, 'The only thing wrong with dogs is that they can't live forever.' This article will explore why they call Great Dane the Heartbreak Dog in addition to the history and origins of Great Danes, their temperament and personality, space requirements, health issues, and lifespan.

Great Dane Heartbreak Dog. Discover how to care for the gentle giant, the Great Dane, a wonderful breed with a heartbreakingly short lifespan.

History and Origins

Known as the "Apollo of dogs," the Great Dane is a giant breed that originated in Germany, not Denmark. It has been around for over 400 years. Bred by German nobility to protect their estates and hunt wild boar, Great Danes were highly esteemed as guardians of estates and carriages in the 18th century. They were also favored by the upper class for sport. The modern Great Dane that we know today was developed in the 1800s, and in 1880, the Germans changed the breed's name to "Deutsche Dogge," which means German mastiff. Still, it continues to be known as the Great Dane in English-speaking countries. Despite their imposing size, Great Danes have become a popular choice for city dwellers as family pets and for their ability to deter potential robbers.

Temperament and Personality

Great Danes are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them suitable as family pets. Despite their size, Great Danes are more of a lap dog than a fierce hunter, and they love to lounge around on the couch or lay by your feet. With proper training and socialization from a young age, they cope well with other dogs and pets, including cats. They are defensive of the family, but when they feel threatened, they quickly pick up on the vibe and welcome strangers with a gentle nudge and soft-eyed expression. Great Danes are fantastic with kids, though their size should be considered when children are around.

Exercise and Space Requirements

Great Danes require space and exercise and are better suited to larger homes than apartments. They are big, sleek, and muscular without the clumsiness or goofy traits that other giant breeds tend to have. They need a good hour of exercise daily, and having a backyard will be helpful. However, they should not be left alone outside all the time; they need their human family and consider themselves part of the family. Great Danes have a loud, deep bark that can be intimidating but does not indicate aggression.

Health Issues

Like most large and giant breeds, Great Danes can experience health issues such as hip dysplasia, bloat, bone cancer, and heart disease. Great Dane growth patterns mean their bones require time to catch up with their body, and owners should not run or over-exercise their Great Dane until at least 18 months old. Hip dysplasia can cause arthritis, and even if a dog is not displaying any signs of lameness, an X-Ray should be done periodically to ensure its health. Gastric torsion, or bloat, can affect large dogs with deep chests, like the Great Dane. Bone cancer, called osteosarcoma, is an aggressive form of cancer that can result in amputation and chemotherapy. New owners of Great Danes or any larger breed should know in advance that their dog may well develop heart disease, which may require surgery or shorten an already short lifespan.


Great Dane lifespan is relatively short, ranging from 8 to 10 years, so they are sometimes called the "heartbreak dog." It is never long enough for such an affectionate, beautiful, and close companion. Owners should consider this when making a commitment to this wonderful breed.

Why are great danes called heartbreak dogs?

The term "heartbreak breed" is used by some people to describe Great Danes because they have a relatively short lifespan of 8-10 years. Heartbreak breed means owners can become very attached to their Great Dane and experience loss and grief when they pass away. It is a term used to describe the emotional impact of losing a beloved dog. Many pet owners experience a deep sense of loss when their pet dies. The term "heartbreak dog" describes the unique emotional bond that can develop between a Great Dane and its owner.

Great Dane Heartbreak Dog. Discover how to care for the gentle giant, the Great Dane, a wonderful breed with a heartbreakingly short lifespan.

The only thing 'wrong' with dogs is that they can't live forever.

This quote captures the heartbreakingly inevitable reality of losing a beloved pet. As much as we cherish our time with our furry companions, the heartbreak of their eventual loss is something we cannot escape. Dogs offer us unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship, and it's hard to imagine life without them. However, the heartbreak of their limited lifespan reminds us to make the most of our time with them and cherish every moment. While we may never fully be ready for the heartbreak of losing a pet, we can take comfort in knowing that we gave them a life filled with love and joy.

How to cope with the loss of a dog?

Losing a beloved pet can be a heartbreaking experience, and taking the time to grieve and process your emotions is important. Here are some ways to cope with the loss of a pet:

1. Allow yourself to grieve: Losing a pet is a significant loss, and it's important to give yourself permission to feel your emotions fully. You may experience sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. It's important to let yourself feel these emotions and not try to suppress them.

2. Seek support: Connect with understanding friends and family or seek professional help, such as a pet loss support group or counseling, to cope with the emotional impact of losing a beloved pet.

3. Create a memorial: One way to cherish the memory of your pet is by creating a personalized memorial. Consider creating a photo album, scrapbook, or a dedicated space to showcase their ashes or paw print. By doing so, you can pay tribute to your pet and keep their memory alive meaningfully.

4. Take care of yourself: When coping with the loss of a pet, it's crucial to prioritize self-care. This includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious food, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly. Additionally, engaging in activities that bring you happiness and comfort, such as reading a book or spending time in nature, can help you manage your emotions and find solace during this challenging time.

5. Consider volunteering or donating: Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or donating in your pet's memory. This can help to honor your pet's memory and also provide comfort to other animals in need.

6. Seek closure: It may be helpful to seek closure by holding a funeral or memorial service for your pet or writing a letter to them expressing your feelings.

Remember that everyone grieves differently, and there is no "right" way to cope with the loss of a pet. Give yourself time, be kind to yourself, and seek support when you need it. With time, you'll find ways to cherish the memories of your beloved pet and find comfort in the love and joy they bring to your life.


Great Danes are a unique and wonderful breed of dog that requires careful consideration before committing to ownership. They are gentle and affectionate but require space, exercise, and proper care to thrive. Understanding their unique needs and health issues can help ensure a long and happy life with your Great Dane.

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